Sarah Hanley

A new year starts with the hope and promise of new beginnings, journeys yet to be taken, and changes on the horizon. In the hope of fulfilling that promise each year, we are inspired to look for New Year’s resolutions. We set goals about losing weight, eating healthier, exercising, spending more time with family and friends, and more; the list is endless.

However, when looking to make New Year’s resolutions we need to look no further than the corporal works of mercy. It is in caring for others and seeing Christ in all we encounter that we achieve our highest goal, being our best selves and serving God.

If we reflect on our baptismal promise, our resolutions come easily and without effort; they are the witness of a holy life and practical charity. When we live a holy life, we live in accordance with Christ and his teachings. We seek to be closer to Jesus not just in word but in prayer, and deed. We offer comfort, we show kindness, we serve others and we extend hope.

And what of practical charity? Pope Francis tells us that, “On the one hand, it is to look at others through the eyes of Jesus himself and, on the other hand, to see Jesus in the face of the poor.” Practical charity then encompasses everything from the smile we give a stranger walking down the street to the donations we give to philanthropic organizations.


With the promises of a New Year on the horizon, we asked members of our CFGP team to share what they had in store for 2022. This is what we heard:

“What I am most thankful for is my family, and that I am able to continue my mission of giving and helping the homeless. This has been my passion for many years now. I thank God for blessing me so that I can bless others.” — Shealene Sullivan, Data Entry Clerk

“My New Year’s resolutions are to work out, eat heathy foods and use the time I would otherwise spend endlessly scrolling social media on prayer and reflection. I am so thankful to God for my family, friends, and the strong Catholic community that surrounds me.” — William Rickards, Senior Project Coordinator

“In the New Year, I remain grateful for the strong sense of Catholic community in our beloved Philadelphia area. I am looking forward to a year of growth and am resolved to make deeper ties to my immediate communities.” – Justine Dougherty, Manager, Partner Development

This year when we are thinking about our resolutions, yes, let’s eat healthier, exercise more and spend more time with family and friends. But let’s also trust that divine spark within us that prompts us to breathe into our baptismal vows.

Let’s be kind and take time to think about our neighbors. Let’s make charitable contributions both monetarily and with our time and abilities. Let’s resolve to live more truly and fully the teachings of the gospels and shine with the light of Christ that is found in all of us.

Wishing you a blessed and healthy New Year!


Sarah Hanley is the president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia.